Kirk Franklin's Prayers for Victims of Racial Violence removed from Acceptance Speech Featured
You don't need us to tell you of the legend that is Kirk Franklin in Christian music - so to hear that his acceptance speeches have been edited without his knowledge or consent not just once, but twice, is pretty upsetting.
Franklin won Gospel Artist of the year at the 50th Annual GMA Dove Awards held October 15 in Nashville in the USA. The awards show aired on TBN, a Christian Television Channel, on October 20. Kirk Franklin says: "For so long, the terms Christian and gospel for many are code words for white and black, which history may teach us was a setup for the unfortunate place we find ourselves in today ... During my speech, I brought attention the murder of Atatiana Jefferson in her home by a white police officer. I asked everyone in the audience and those viewing to join me in prayer for not only Atatiana's family, including her 8-year-old nephew who witnessed the killing, but also for the family of the police officer. Last week, during the airing of the awards on the same network, again, that part of my speech was edited out."
As Kirk Franklin makes reference to, this isn't the first time this has happened. In 2016, after a Dove win, he says that he felt a responsibility to speak up "as a Christian and man of color" about killings by white police officers. He also addressed the killings of five police officers by an African American, and explains that after a standing ovation, everyone prayed for the families of the victims. Franklin said "We all felt that moment that there was a shift in the climate of our separate worlds." But when it aired, that part of his speech has cut out. He has now decided to "not attend any events affiliated with or for the Dove Awards, Gospel Music Association, or TBN until tangible plans are put in place to protect and champion diversity ... Not only did they edit my speech, they edited the African American experience." You can listen to his whole explanation below:
You can watch his unedited speech below:
Cover photo from Kirk Franklin's Facebook page.